Biden Chides Democrats During Formal Counting Of Electoral Votes

Jan 7, 2017
Originally published on January 7, 2017 3:49 pm
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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

The last ceremonial act of the 2016 presidential election played out on the House of Representatives floor on Friday afternoon. As NPR's Scott Detrow reports, the formal counting of the Electoral College's votes included one last, maybe fitting, round of controversy.

SCOTT DETROW, BYLINE: Ever since Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton in the presidential election, a lot of Democrats have been searching for something - anything - to suddenly appear and reverse the results. At first, many clung to the idea that the Electoral College could simply vote for someone else. That didn't work. Their very last chance came Friday when a joint session of Congress convened to count the votes. As state results were read, House Democrats like Jim McGovern of Massachusetts rose to object.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

JIM MCGOVERN: Especially given the confirmed and illegal activities engaged by the government of Russia...

DETROW: Vice President Joe Biden was presiding. And he gaveled down objection after objection.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

BARBARA LEE: Mr. President, I object on behalf of the millions of Americans, including members of the intelligence community, who are horrified by...

VICE PRES JOE BIDEN: There is no debate. Debate is prohibited.

DETROW: That's because challenges need a Senate sponsor, too. And no senators volunteered. Finally, Biden appear to have had enough.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

BIDEN: It is over.

(LAUGHTER, APPLAUSE)

DETROW: That blunt assessment won applause from Republicans. This wasn't the first time the official vote count had some drama. After the 2000 recount, many House Democrats tried the same tactic. That got awkward since the loser of that race, Al Gore, was presiding.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

AL GORE: Is the objection in writing and signed by a member of the House and a senator?

DETROW: It happened so many times that, for Gore, it became a painful joke.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

GORE: This is going to sound familiar to you...

(LAUGHTER)

GORE: ...To all of us.

DETROW: This year, all 50 states eventually were tallied. And Biden read the results.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

BIDEN: Donald Trump of New York has received for president of the United States 304 votes.

DETROW: And with that, the long, messy, unpredictable 2016 presidential election was finally officially over. Scott Detrow, NPR News, the Capitol. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.